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The United States military has utilized civilians for carrying out essential tasks since the establishment of the country. As early as the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Army used countless numbers of civilian employees to handle supply and logistics issues that faced the military forces fighting against the British. This is one of the reasons that the Continental Army ultimately triumphed over the British Redcoats and their Mercenaries, who could not depend on civilian support to supply things like medical care, food, transport, carpentry, uniforms, and other essentials that help an army win a war. Since the American Revolution, more and more civilians have been employed by the United States military and the United States Department of Defense in order to carry out functions that do not need a person with military training to carry out. Today, the Army, the Marines, the Coat Guard, the Navy, and the Air Force all utilize civilians in contexts like hospitality, medical care, financial services, management, acquisition, security, training, education, family services, and a variety of other job roles. The civilian positions that are available are numerous, are located all over the world, and are not limited to persons that have prior military experience.
Financial jobs are among those that have experienced the most growth in civilian military hiring since the 1990s. Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, branches of the United States military have been hiring more and more civilians to carry out various tasks within each military branch. There are many reasons that this is the case, and most of them are related to the relative costs of using a uniformed service member, as opposed to a civilian, to carry out any particular task.
First, hiring civilians makes sense for the military because training, then keeping a civilian on staff is far cheaper than keeping an enlisted or commissioned, uniformed military personnel member on staff. There are a variety of reasons why this is the case. Training a civilian is cheaper because they do not need to undergo the training associated with ‘basic training’, given that it is unlikely that an accountant or secretary will ever be exposed to battlefield conditions or situations. This alone significantly reduces the costs that are associated with the training of new employees for the United States military. Plus, unlike with military recruits, most of the incoming civilian personnel that apply to work with the United States military already have training from the civilian sector, which ensures that they receive a minimal amount of training before they begin to work in their assigned position. In addition, hiring a civilian means less expenses compared to using a uniformed service member, given that civilians do not require the military to spend money on additional items that are associated with being a uniformed member of the military, such as guns, ammunition, uniforms, and other associated items. Plus, the military isn’t obligated to provide some kind of provision for housing for civilian employees. On top of all these other costs associated with using uniformed personnel to carry out a job, one must consider that the United States military also pays veterans benefits that usually outpace those offered to civilian retirees. In turn, hiring more civilians also reduces costs for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, which reduces overall spending on things like veterans benefit programs, healthcare services, and more.
Additionally, civilians are often available to work in positions that will only be available for a short period of time. For instance, whenever a temporary project is being carried out, it makes far more fiscal sense for the military to hire a civilian for a short period of time, rather than dealing with re-locating its own uniformed service personnel. This allows the United States military to use local labor sources, which helps strengthen communities economically, and tightens relationships between the civilian world, and the military.
Hiring civilians to carry out various tasks also helps out military families, who often are forced to relocate quite often, and sometimes must relocate to bases that are located outside the United States. For non-military spouses, finding a new job after moving to a new military base can be difficult. In addition, it can be nearly impossible, if not outright illegal, to find jobs for civilian military spouses in countries where United States military bases are located. As a result, cultivating a civilian workforce in these instances helps the United States military better provide for the families of soldiers and officers. Many military bases even provide civilian internship programs that are often frequented by the teenage children of military families, which provides our next generation with an opportunity to explore career options available within, and outside of the United States military.
It is extremely common for the United States military to use civilian employees for finance and accounting purposes – which is fairly predictable if you consider how different the skillsets of most uniformed military personnel and your average accountant or financial planner are. These individuals generally either work somewhere in a United States Department of Defense office, or on one of the many military bases that are located around the country and around the world. These employees may carry out one of many different tasks. For instance, they might be in charge of carrying out payroll tasks for employees and personnel on the base, or they might be in charge of dealing with cost accounting and projection. They may be responsible for drafting estimates of their base’s financial future given changes in yearly government budgets, or other potential legislation that might impact the amount of money that the base must spend, or how much money the base will be receiving.
Working for the United States military as a civilian can be an extremely rewarding experience, since one can be confident that one’s work definitely contributes to supporting the national interests of the United States of America. For more information, check out online information available from any of the military branches.